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Board of Health or by two physicians' certificates, Swedish law permits abortion for the following indications (121): (a) illness or weakness, either physical or mental; (b) a medical-social indication; (c) anticipated weakness, if the pregnancy and additional child are likely to lead to serious physical or mental sequelae; (d) impregnation occurring under the gross invasion of the female's freedom of action; and (e) a genetic indication of hereditary risk. (If the mother is the risk, she must be sterilized at the time of abortion.)
Eastern Europe. The liberalization of abortion laws in most east European countries during the 1950's was tantamount to making abortion a legal right of women. In effect, the old laws were removed and public measures to support the practice of abortion were adopted.
Abortion laws in the U.S.S.R. were liberalized as early as 1920, but restrictions which prohibited abortion except for medical indications were introduced in 1936. In 1955, however, a reliberalization took place, and abortion has been a legal method of terminating unwanted pregnancies since that time. Abortion laws were also liberalized in Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, and Yugoslavia. By 1960, only East Germany and Albania, among all Soviet-bloc countries, had not followed the Russian example (122).
In Hungary abortion is permitted for medical, psychiatric, and fetal indications; for social and family circumstances; and, simply, if any applicant insists on the interruption of pregnancy. In Czechoslovakia abortion is permitted for (a) women of advanced age; (b) mothers of at least three children; (c) loss or disability of husband; (d) disruption of family life; (e) endangering the living standard, especially if the woman is a major supporter of the family; (f) unmarried women; (g) pregnancy resulting from crime or violence. In other socialist countries, indications are formulated in less specific terms. In Poland, for example, abortion is permitted in instances where pregnancy constitutes a serious threat to the social position of the woman; and, in Yugoslavia, for "grave personal or material circumstances" (53).
Japan. In Japan, the legitimation of induced abortion occurred in 1948 when the Eugenics Protection Law was liberally amended. The reader may refer to the earlier discussion for further information concerning the nature and impact of liberalized abortion laws in Japan.
Effect of Liberalization on the Incidence of Abortion
The immediate and most obvious result of abortion law liberalization—or removal-is an increase in the number of legal abortions and, therefore, a decrease in abortion morbidity and mortality. After liberalization, a process of replacement typically sets in whereby women who would have had an illegal abortion now turn to hospitals and clinics. In addition, the appeal of abortion is enhanced by the removal of legal taboos, and abortion cases are